Update from our meeting on Thames Water mains replacement works in Tulse Hill and West Norwood

A few days ago, councillors Anna and Peter met with the Lambeth officer leading discussions with Thames Water.

We have had a briefing on proposals – but with a clear caveat that these are still being negotiated so are subject to change. We will update this blog as things change and you can also sign up for email updates from us by clicking here.

Thames meeting

The proposed scope of works is to replace 840m of existing 21” cast iron trunk main in Norwood Road. The extent of this lies between Thurlow Park Road in the north and Robson Road in the south, passing under the Network Rail bridge at Tulse Hill station.

It will be a brand new pipe, which will only plugged into the network once it is installed – the existing pipe will be left in the ground and abandoned. This should mean less road gets dug up and potentially also means the redundant pipe can be used to reduce future disruption if, for example, new internet or electricity wires need to be laid as they can go through the empty pipe rather than requiring a trench to be dug. New monitoring equipment is proposed to be installed in the new pipe and this should make the network easier to monitor for leaks.

The reasons given for this work are to address flooding issues. The existing 21” cast iron trunk main was installed in 1890 and due to age and fatigue has a history – as many of us have experienced with increasing regularity – of bursts.

The work is proposed to be “open cut” which means a trench has to be opened. The reason given for this is that the existing trunk main is too small a diameter to slip line and would not provide sufficient volume for the current population. Thames Water is looking at a £14 million price tag for these works.

Original proposals apparently involved a linear programme of works – starting at one end and working the length of Norwood Road. This would have taken a very long time, and in an effort to reduce the length of time that there are disruptions Lambeth officers have proposed having two “fronts” so that work begins in two places, one at the northern end of the scheme and one halfway along, and then progress southwards simultaneously. This would mean the scheme takes less time.

Trenches would be dug in stages, rather than all at once. Each section would result in one lane of traffic being closed, and temporary traffic lights managing traffic flow past the works. Each section may also result in a side road being closed while that section is being worked on.

There are currently no bus diversions proposed, though temporary lights will clearly cause a lot of congestion and we would expect bus journeys to take longer too. However, we had been concerned about buses being diverted away from West Norwood, so we’re pleased that that’s currently not the proposal.

We raised the concerns raised at the public meeting we held recently about deliveries to businesses, continued water supply for businesses and residents, the ability for the Feast to continue running each month, about public transport and congestion, about parking, about disabled access, about compensation for businesses, and about additional investment and improvement in West Norwood.

We were reassured by many of the answers. Officers are aware of the importance of Feast for example, and have already lobbied Thames Water for changes to ensure Feast is not disrupted – original Thames Water proposals used Chatsworth Way for storage and this would have prevented Feast stalls from being erected. Lambeth officers have persuaded Thames Water to change their storage plans so that the space remains available for Feast.

There should be no interruption to water supply, which reassures us especially for vulnerable customers and for those businesses which can’t function without it like Floral Hall and the many hairdressers.

Lambeth officers are aware of the issues surrounding deliveries, and the importance of ensuring convenient times and locations. We understand that conversations with all businesses will take place so that delivery requirements are fully mapped and can be planned for and enabled.

We remain concerned about the impact on businesses – we haven’t had clarity on compensation but understand that some piecemeal attempts to talk to businesses individually have been taking place. We have strongly put that compensation should be in advance to prevent any businesses closing down, and that rather than risking businesses being picked off individually or played off against each other that Thames Water also work closely with the BID to ensure all businesses are supported.

We’ve also asked about how to ensure a balance between redirecting through traffic that doesn’t stop locally while still communicating that West Norwood and Tulse Hill are open for business, and encouraging shoppers to travel here – particularly by bus, on foot and cycling if able.

We raised concern about the lack of communication to date – with councillors, businesses, community groups and residents. We have suggested regular councillor briefings and to meet Thames Water directly. We’ve asked for communications to local residents, and have been told that current proposals would see a letter from Thames delivered to tens of thousands of residents in the next week or two – the exact geography of this is still being discussed.

Lambeth have also secured agreement for Thames to fund a dedicated officer for this scheme, and that there will be 24-hour on-site presence, so that residents and businesses have an easily accessible point of contact.

We’ve asked for drop in events with information for businesses and residents, as well as a public meeting with Thames Water, Lambeth and TfL all on a panel and able to share information and ask questions. The offer of project officers attending BID meetings or business forums on a regular basis was also offered. Officers have been in touch with cycling groups and are contacting community groups locally. We’re encouraged that these all seem to be in the pipeline (sorry – we couldn’t resist at least one water related pun!) – do sign up for our email updates so that we can make sure you’re invited to the meetings.

We are happy to answer questions on topics we’ve been briefed on, to raise questions with officers that we don’t know the answers to, and to meet with anyone who would like to discuss this further. Our email addresses are:

  • abirley@lambeth.gov.uk
  • fcowell@lambeth.gov.uk
  • pely@lambeth.gov.uk

We share the concerns of residents and businesses that this will be hugely disruptive and could seriously harm our town centre – we are doing all we can to ensure negative impacts are minimised and mitigated. We also want to secure as many positive benefits from the works as possible – for example, full resurfacing of the carriageway rather than simply patching up trenches and STEM training or work experience in local schools.

Thames Water leak traffic chaos

A big leak on Norwood Road by the railway bridge in Tulse Hill outside Ira Court has caused huge congestion most of this afternoon and evening. Temporary traffic lights are in place and look likely to remain for some time given the size of hole that has opened up in the road.

Thames say they think works will finish on 20th February, so in the meantime we suggest leaving your car at home if you want to get anywhere quickly!

Progress on our campaign for a safer South Circular!

For the last five years as your local councillors we have been campaigning for a safer South Circular.

Following the tragic death in 2017 of Dr. Jasjot Singhota at the zebra crossing on Thurlow Park Road, by Birkbeck Hill, in February we organised a walkabout with TfL, Helen Hayes MP and our GLA representative Flo Eshalomi to highlight the problem of speeding, as well as lobbying the transport deputy mayor of London.

Sadly, another young woman was killed on the South Circular a year ago crossing at the pedestrian crossing between Ladbrokes and the Co-op. This is a very dangerous junction, and while the £5 million we have secured as part of the Streetworks project to completely redesign it, clearly it needs to be made much safer much sooner while those plans are developed. 

We met with London’s deputy mayor for transport and got a commitment that the Streetworks project would experience no further delays. In the interim, they agreed to review the positioning and lighting at the corner where the hit and run took place. 

We are incredibly pleased to see that action has been taken – the crossing has been realigned to improve pedestrian visibility on this corner. 

This is by no means enough, and we will continue to campaign for safety improvements. Soon, we hope to be able to share detailed plans for the gyratory redesign – the high level designs were developed with the community and have been with TfL technical officers to model. 

Our response to the consultation on the new low emission zone

Soon after his election the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, called for new proposals to urgently help tackle London’s lethal air pollution. The Mayor has already introduced the T-Charge in central London, bought forward the start date of the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) for central London to 8 April 2019 and announced a series of measures to clean up London’s bus fleet.

TfL are now consulting on detailed proposals for two further initiatives to improve London’s air. These involve:

  • Tightening the standards of the existing London-wide Low Emission Zone from 2020, which affects heavy vehicles – buses, coaches and HGVs and other heavy specialist vehicles
  • Expanding the ULEZ for light vehicles (cars, vans and motorcycles) from central London to inner London up to, but not including the North and South Circular roads in 2021 so that all vehicles in this area are subject to emissions standards

The full proposals can be found here:  https://consultations.tfl.gov.uk/environment/air-quality-consultation-phase-3b/#our proposals 

In Thurlow Park, they involve a new low emissions zone extending up to but not including the South Circular.

As your local Labour councillors, we have responded to the consultation calling on the zone to be wider, covering all of London rather than stopping at the South Circular.

Air quality is a very important
issue for us and our residents. Thurlow Park ward straddles the South Circular
and has a number of other strategically important roads that experience heave
traffic, including Norwood Road and Lancaster Avenue. 

These roads, and the
streets leading off them, experience high volumes of cars, buses, lorries and
vans. As a consequence, the air that residents living, working, walking and
cycling in our ward, and especially on these roads, is damaging their lungs.

We are therefore
very supportive of actions which TfL and the Mayor can take to tackle air
pollution and welcome a large Ultra Low Emissions Zone. We agree with proposals
that there should be tougher emissions standards, particularly given this will especially
impact the heavy vehicles that we experience disproportionately.

We also support
the expansion of the existing Low Emission Zone. However, we are very
disappointed that it is being proposed to go only as far as the south circular.
As shown by this map displaying data from the London Air website compiled by
Kings College London, the South Circular is the worst road in our
neighbourhood. It’s a residential road, and in just Thurlow Park goes past two
schools and very near to two more.

On any given day,
these homes and schools have around 15,000 vehicles driving east and a further
12,000 vehicles travelling west past their front doors, according to data
collected by TfL which we have published here: https://thurlowparklabour.org/post/166566971597/progress-made-in-our-campaign-for-a-safer-south

Other pollution
hotspots would be missed off the new zone too – in our ward, Norwood Road sees
higher traffic and pollution, as do Robson Road, Rosendale Road, Lancaster
Avenue and Croxted Road, for example, thanks to buses, delivery vehicles and
other traffic.

The current
proposals, up to and not including the South Circular, fail to take action on
the road in the greatest need of action and does nothing to tackle the
pollution hotspots south of this boundary. They create a situation which sees
only half of our residents breathing cleaner air, while some of the worst
affected areas see no change in regulation. We are also concerned that the new
zone will push the most pollution traffic south as drivers of vehicles affected
look for alternative routes that avoid the charge. We don’t want to see the
southern half of the ward become a rat run for London’s most polluting traffic.

By extending the
zone to cover the whole city, this scenario can be avoided. We would
therefore like to see the new zone expanded to cover the whole of London,
including the South Circular.

Thurlow Park Road: junction improvement works planned

Transport for London have written letters to local residents to inform them of plans to improve the junction at Thurlow Park Road and Rosendale Road. TfL will install new pedestrian and junction signals, repave the footpath at the junction and improve cycle facilities. Works begin from Thursday 01 March. This is part of their Quietways programme.

Works will take place from 08:00 until 18:00 and 20:00 until 05:00 on Mondays to Fridays, and from 08:00 until 16:00 on Saturdays, between 01 March and 10 April. The noisiest works will be completed 23:00.

TfL will signpost diversion routes during any closures, though the advice is to plan ahead, and allow more time /use alternative routes where possible. Visit tfl.gov.uk/trafficnews or follow @TfLTrafficNews on Twitter for live road travel updates.

Bus routes 201 and P13 will be temporarily diverted and bus stop Lancaster Avenue / West Dulwich, which serves these routes, will be temporarily closed. We will place notices at the affected stops to guide you to the nearest alternative. Visit tfl.gov.uk/bus/status or follow @TfLBusAlerts on Twitter for live updates.

Please visit tfl.gov.uk/roads for more information.

Our Streets – the Neighbourhood Enhancement Programme

Phase 3 of the Our Streets programme is planned for implementation in the wards of Streatham Hill, Thurlow Park, Gipsy Hill and Knight’s Hill. 

This Phase of the Neighbourhood Enhancement Programme (NEP), is a continuation of previous Our Streets projects that have been delivered in central Lambeth and are currently being delivered in the south of the borough.

As part of future consultation Lambeth are asking residents to share their ideas by completing a survey. This should be happening in early 2018. 

For more information please see – https://www.lambeth.gov.uk/housing-and-regeneration/regeneration/our-streets-the-neighbourhood-enhancement-programme

Progress made in our campaign for a safer South Circular

Following the tragic death of Dr. Jasjot Singhota at
the zebra crossing on Thurlow Park Road, by Birkbeck Hill, in February, we have
been working to tackle speeding and improve safety on the South Circular.

In March, we organised a walkabout with TfL
officers, local residents, friends of Jas, the local Labour London Assembly
Member Flo Eshalomi, and the local Labour MP Helen Hayes. We discussed a number
of issues with the speed of traffic, the visibility of crossings and the lack
of enforcement when drivers are disregarding road safety.

We have been working with TfL to follow up on these
actions behind the scenes, and while the police inquiry into the tragic
accident is still ongoing, we are able to provide an update on this work from
TfL officers.

We asked TfL to commission a speed survey at the
crossing to give us the evidence we need to push for improvements. This took
place between 18 April and 24 April and the results are here:

Clearly, far too many drivers are exceeding the speed limit – and we are committed to continuing to work with residents to campaign for measures to tackle this. 

We also asked for a collision study, so that we
could gain a better understanding of the dangers of this crossing.

TfL officers say: 

“We have completed a collision study, which revealed at this location
there were five collisions in the 36 months up to 31st October 2016 (which is
the latest Police recorded data available, so it does not include the collision
involving Dr Singhota). Two collisions occurred on the zebra crossing involving
pedestrian’s being struck by a vehicle, whilst crossing the road. One of these
collisions resulted in a serious injury, with the other resulting in slight
injury. Three of the collisions involved vehicle shunt incidents on the
approach to the zebra crossing. Two of these three collisions involved vehicles
travelling westbound, with the other collision involving vehicles travelling
eastbound. All three shunt incidents were attributed to inappropriate speeds
and the driver failing to look properly. Two of these collisions involved cars
only, with the other involving a car and a motorcycle.”

While the ongoing police inquiry has advised that
the highway layout was not being seen as a contributory factor to the fatal
accident in February, TfL have agreed to review the layout to begin to address
our concerns. These are all things which they are able to include in the
ongoing maintenance programme so the required works can be delivered fairly
promptly.

In summary, these works include:

  • The belisha beacon (the pole with an orange ball on top by the zebra crossings) post on the north-eastern side of A205 Thurlow Park Road is solid black, and will be made black and white striped to be consistent with other crossings of this type. This should make is more visible for oncoming traffic.
  • The belisha beacons on either side of Thurlow Park Road will be re-orientated to improve their visibility.
  • Two replacement keep left bollards will be installed on the pedestrian refuge area (island) in the middle of the road.

In addition, TfL have agreed to get in touch with
the police to set up some community-led speed checks under the Community
Roadwatch scheme, which will complement the surveys that TfL have undertaken.
This scheme gives residents the opportunity to work with local police teams,
and use speed detection equipment to deter speeding on their roads. 

Dates are
yet to be finalised for this event – if you would like to be part of this
please sign up here.

TfL are also considering other interventions that
could be made in the longer term and progressed as part of their programme with
the aim of reducing speeds and improving safety along this section of Thurlow
Park Road. They say, “We intend to work with all stakeholders
to ensure that all our roads are safe for all road users.”